When I started this blog I had no preconceived ideas of getting shed loads of orders in, or making any money from it whatsoever. I was happy enough baking and blogging and anything else would be a bonus.
So, when a friend contacted me and asked if I could make her some engagement cupcakes, I was pleasantly surprised and excited. Then I experienced another feeling altogether. Fear. What if I couldn’t do it? What if they turned out like a dog’s dinner? What if I made them and she refused to accept them because they were so god damn awful?!
I had never worked with fondant before but, luckily, I had over a months’ notice which meant plenty of time to prepare. Which leads me on to my first bit of advice for anyone embarking on something like this…
- Prepare! If you have a recipe, designs and all the right equipment before you begin you’ll hugely minimise your chances of things going wrong.
- Seek inspiration! My friend had left the designs completely up to me, so my first step was to get on Pinterest and start looking for ideas. And there were plenty!
- Pick designs within your skillset. I was under no illusion that I could make a cupcake look like a work of art. However I was confident I could produce some very cute, engagement-themed cupcakes with a bit of flair.
- Draw your designs out (they don’t have to be a work of art!) so you have guidelines to work from as you go.
- Use plenty of icing sugar when you roll out your icing. This is common sense really but if you don’t do it everything will just stick to your worktop.
- Put each fondant decoration in the fridge once it’s done to chill it and give it more structure.
- Maintain a delicate hand. Fondant isn’t particularly flimsy, but if you’re too heavy handed you’ll end up squashing your pretty shapes.
- Use edible glue! This stuff is brilliant and holds everything in place perfectly. Here’s a link to the one I bought.
- Be flexible. Something might not end up going the way you thought it would, so just adapt and try something else.
- Give yourself plenty of time. I knew it would take a while to get all my designs sorted and looking the way I wanted them, but I did underestimate just how long I’d spend doing fiddly things like making rings and marking the quilt on the fondant.
- Have fun! Above all, just enjoy it and remember the beauty of fondant is that you can just squash it back into a ball, re-roll it and go again!
Here’s how my cupcakes ended up. They’re not perfect by a long shot, but for a first attempt I was pretty chuffed. I had good feedback from the bride-to-be as well, which was as much as I could have hoped for.
Needless to say Oscar just slept through the entire process. At one point I think I actually stood on his tail and he barely flinched. Maybe it was his ‘couldn’t-give-a-shit’ attitude that kept me calm…